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Co-Occurring Disorders / Dual Diagnosis

Fewer than 10% of adults with co-occurring disorders receive treatment for both conditions, but what exactly is a co-occurring disorder?


Co-occurring disorders happen when someone who is abusing substances, and also suffers from a mental health condition such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, etc...


It's estimated that 1 in 6 substance abusers only receive treatment for one of these issues. Figuring out which disorder came first can be particularly tricky, and down right impossible at times. For instance, an abused child may turn to drugs as a coping mechanism, developing an addiction. However, a substance abuser might also experience severe and negative situations while under the influence, which could lead to something like PTSD. Since it's becoming increasingly difficult to establish which disorder came first, may doctors and psychologists are recommending that both treatment for both substance abuse, and treatment for underlying psychological disorders, is the only way to address the problem as a whole, and provide a more comprehensive treatment.